Northern Exposure: Season 3 (R2) Review

Having already written a comprehensive set of reviews for the first three seasons of Northern Exposure following their release on Region 1, this review is concerned only with the differences between the Region 1 set release in June 2005 and the Region 2 set (January 2006). If you're coming to Northern Exposure on this site for the first time, please may I then redirect you to my reviews of Season One, Season Two and Season Three for a series primer and episode guides for all three seasons. Otherwise...



Transfer

As one who looked at the release of the first season of Northern Exposure on Region 2 and wept bitter tears at seeing how bad it was, I was driven into buying Region 1 by the promise of a better picture quality, more extras and a more regular release schedule. Since that debacle, though, Universal Playback have improved greatly with the release of the Second and Third Seasons but it's worth noting that it's still not on a par with the Region 1, as the screenshots below suggest...

The R1 Release

This R2 Release

The R1 Release

This R2 Release

The R1 Release

This R2 Release

The R1 Release

This R2 Release

On the one hand, this is a very reasonable transfer of the series onto DVD and so much better than the lamentable First Season but compared to the Region 1, this picture is a little darker, not quite so sharp and framed differently, with the picture here being ever so slightly wider from, I'm assuming the top and bottom of the picture being cropped just a little. Granted, I only noticed this on a side-by-side comparison so it should pass the viewer completely by when watching it on a television screen but, if you're picky about such things, Region 1 still has the better picture quality.

There's very little to differentiate between the soundtracks, though, and I had to use the ending of Three Amigos to really hear if there was a difference. But there is and it's that this Region 2 has less bottom end and doesn't sound quite as warm as a result. This is, though, hardly noticeable and it's only through knowing Willie Nelson's Hand On The Wheel so well that I was able to discern any difference. In summary, though, this isn't the disaster than the UK release of Season 1 was and in many respects it's very good but just not quite on a par with the Region 1.



Extras

Northern Exposure is coming to DVD with a bit of a ragbag of bonus material, including deleted scenes, gag reels and unexposed footage. Of the three seasons released on Region 1 so far, Season 3 enjoyed the best treatment with the Lost Storylines being something of a treat. Unfortunately, neither this nor the Unexposed Scenes have made it to Region 2, with the six discs including only the Deleted/Extended Scenes from the Region 1. In all, this makes roughly 26 minutes of Lost Storylines and 18 minutes of Unexposed Scenes that has not been included on this set that were present on the Region 1.



Overall

Northern Exposure had long been on my most-wanted list of television-on-DVD and the Region 1 sets haven't disappointed in the slightest (Season Four is due on the 28th March 2006). Had I not bought that release of Season 3, I certainly wouldn't have had any problems with this but if you ask me to choose one, I'd say go Region 1 for the improved picture quality and better extras but, equally, this is not, by any means, a particularly shabby release.

Film
9 out of 10
Video
7 out of 10
Audio
7 out of 10
Extras
4 out of 10
Overall

8

out of 10

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